Thursday, March 10, 2011

Oil installations burn in Libya

SHOOT: This can't end well; indeed, it may well be part of a much larger beginning period in modern history...

Getty Images/John Moore
Libyan rebel fighters prepare an anti-aircraft machine gun after being supplied with ammunition in front of an ammunition storage warehouse in the eas 
AP – Libyan rebel fighters prepare an anti-aircraft machine gun after being supplied with ammunition in front …
RAS LANOUF, Libya – A giant yellow fireball shot into the sky, trailed by thick plumes of black smoke Wednesday after fighting between rebels and forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi set two oil installations ablaze and inflicted yet more damage on Libya's crippled energy industry.
In the west, Gadhafi claimed victory in recapturing Zawiya, the city closest to the capital that had fallen into opposition hands. The claim could not immediately be verified; phone lines there have not been working during a deadly, six-day siege.

The government twice promised to escort foreign journalists to Zawiya on Wednesday, only to cancel the visit at the last minute. But state TV showed a crowd of hundreds, purportedly in Zawiya's main square, shouting "The people want Colonel Gadhafi!"

The fall of Zawiya to anti-Gadhafi residents early on in the uprising that began Feb. 15 illustrated the initial, blazing progress of the opposition. But Gadhafi has seized the momentum, battering the rebels with airstrikes and artillery fire and repulsing their westward march toward the capital, Tripoli.
Gadhafi's successes have left Western powers struggling to come up with a plan to support the rebels without becoming ensnared in the complex and fast-moving conflict. On Wednesday, a high-ranking member of the Libyan military flew to Cairo with a message for Egyptian army officials from Gadhafi, but no further details were known.
President Barack Obama's most senior advisers met Wednesday to outline possible steps to pressure Gadhafi to halt the violence and give up power. They planned to examine the ramifications of a no-fly zone over Libya and other potential military options, U.S. officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal administration deliberations.

SHOOT: The Obama administration's hesitation demonstrates a lack of leadership, and worse, a lack of moral leadership.

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